Cloth Diaper How-To
I'm using cloth diapers on my 5-month-old baby. It seems that cloth diapering is becoming a lost art. I couldn't even find diaper pails for cloth diapers in the stores! The diapers sold in discount stores are generally of poor quality--maybe to convince more people to use disposables?
Why am I using cloth? Well, I started so I could save some money. Since then, I've found plenty of other reasons to use them. They are very soft on my baby's skin. I'm uncomfortable with the chemicals found in disposables (the polyacrylates that turn the urine into that weird gel). I don't want my baby's poop to be hanging around in the landfill hundreds of years from now. Plus, they just look so darn cute! And I find homemakerly satisfaction in hanging up clean diapers on the clothesline.
So...here's some basic cloth diapering questions and answers.
How do cloth diapers work?
What is the cheapest quality
cloth diapering method?
What other kinds of cloth
diapering methods are out there?
How do you put the prefold
at the baby?
How many diapers and covers
will I need?
What other equipment will
Do I have to dunk and soak?
How do I wash them?
The Basics of Cloth Diapering
When we think of using cloth diapers, we don't think of how beneficial it is for our babies, for our pocketbook, or for our environment. However I hope to share with you in this article about the benefits of cloth diapering, what you'll need to get started and how to wash them. This article does not cover all of the benefits or attributes of using cloth but I hope it is enough information for you to make the best decision for your baby, for your family and for our earth.
Better for Baby
On the other hand, cloth diapers with solid waste are shaken off into the toilet (or if liners are used, simply flushed down the toilet). The waste is taken care of the way it is meant to, that is, it goes through a sewage treatment center. This ensures that we are not contaminating our earth and each other.
On the other hand, when you finish using diapers with your child, you're done. All you have left is a huge mountain of trash. However if you have used cloth diapers, you are ready for the next child, thus saving even more money! Some mothers have purchased a new appliance with the money they have saved using cloth diapers. What a great idea!
Prefolds are the square, flat diapers you fold. Prefolds are used to soak up urine and to hold solid waste. These are available in a variety of layers and materials. There is cotton flannel, birds-eye cotton and terry material ("terry" is what towels are made of and is super absorbent) used for making prefolds. Prefolds have no outer layer to hold wetness in; therefore these are used with diaper covers or wraps.
Contoured diapers are cut and sewn to resemble an hourglass shape. They are made of the same materials that prefolds are made of. The only difference is their shape; some parents like using these "contoured" or "shaped" diapers better than square shaped prefolds. This is totally a matter of preference. Contoured diapers are also used with diaper covers or wraps.
Fitted Diapers cover baby's entire bottom. To use fitted diapers, just place under baby, bring front up to baby's tummy, and either Velcro® or snap. With fitted diapers, a diaper cover or wrap is still needed to hold wetness in because they do not have any wetness protective layers in them.
How many do I need? With using prefolds, contoured, or fitted diapers you will need: 10-12 diapers per day for newborns; 6-8 per day for older babies.
Diaper covers are used with prefolds, contoured or fitted diapers. You simply fold the prefold and place on the cover. Then you bring the diaper and cover under baby (just like using a disposable). Diaper covers either have Velcro®, or snaps to fasten them. Diaper wraps may also be referred to as "pull-ons", meaning that instead of using Velcro® or snaps to fasten, you just pull up over baby. There are some great quality fleece and woolen wraps out there to choose from. Many moms prefer to use these covers or wraps at nighttime because they are so effective in preventing leaks and blowouts. And we love to prevent those little incidents from happening!
How many do I need? 6 are a minimum, 8-10 make life easier!
All In Ones are probably the most convenient cloth diaper on the market today. If you are really used to disposables and are afraid of transition, perhaps you should try using these first. These have layers of absorbent cotton sewn inside and have a nice protective layer preventing wetness from leaking onto the outside of the diaper. You just put on the baby and go! There are also some wonderful all in ones products out there. If you are traveling, shopping, or having Grandma over to help with the baby, try using an all in one. People are always amazed at how they look and function. These are definitely worth the investment. However, some moms prefer to use these minimally because they may be more expensive than using diaper covers/wraps and prefolds. When used every day, the outer protective layer may deteriorate quicker due to washing more often.
How Many do I need? 10-12 per day for newborns; 6-8 per day for older babies.
Miscellaneous Items Used for Cloth Diapering
Doublers are a long, wide strips of cotton (or cotton and terry) layers laid on a prefold or inside of an all in one. These are beneficial because they have all of the absorbency of an extra diaper, but not all the bulk. Doublers are generally used for heavier-wetting babies, for traveling long distances, or for nighttime. Usually moms purchase a few for these occasions; they are nice to have on hand.
Liners are used to eliminate the need to shake off waste in the toilet and to rinse off dirty diapers. There are reusable cotton liners and there are also flushable, biodegradable liners. The cotton liners are reused again after being washed, and the flushable liners are just flushed down the toilet. These are also convenient products to have on hand.
I hope this information has been helpful to you! Cloth diapering has been one of my greatest experiences with my baby. It is my hope that you will appreciate cloth diapering just as much as I have! If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck and happy diapering! Remember, your baby will be so thankful for your decision, and so will your pocketbook!
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